Are you working at home or are you back in your office workplace? Are you exercising regularly or are you in a rut perhaps eating too much where you have put on an extra few pounds or more.
There is always a reason why we do something although you may not know it. Sometimes the “why” is unconscious and we haven’t addressed it whether we want to or not.
Within the last few months, I started coaching 2 different clients that hired me to help them lose weight so they would feel better. As each of them started to see results, they were energized. The early success opened up their desire to look at all aspects of their life to assess what was working well and what they want to adjust or change to better meet their needs and goals.
My client, Ariel gained 25 pounds over the last year and was really down and despondent about herself, her job and career. As much as she said she wanted to make a change, she wasn’t doing anything about it. She needed a win to get her motivated to assess her life and to formulate what she wants and is willing to take action steps on so she can achieve her goals.
The initial part of the customized program was focused on healthy eating, getting fit, and establishing practices for her well-being based on what she most enjoys. This is the key to any self-improvement program. Yes, you have to challenge yourself, but most importantly to creating lasting change, you will need to make choices based on what you most enjoy and can maintain for the long term. It is not about deprivation. It is about moderation.
Ariel lost 10 pounds in the first month and was starting to feel really good as she developed new habits that resonated well with her lifestyle. The second month, there were a few stumbles and the weight loss was not as much. Ariel was hard on herself and yet she did not give up. Moving through the tough times showed her that she could overcome obstacles, which gave her strength.
The little and big wins propelled her to examine her career aspirations and what she wanted to do next. What we found is that she didn’t need a new career as so much fit well. Rather, she needed to re-frame her job and career to take ownership of her projects, leadership of her team, and recognition of her accomplishments that would enable her to be in the right place for advancement. This is still a work in progress, but Ariel is going to achieve her goals and she is having fun as getting healthy and fit has opened up opportunities for her to try new activities like yoga, and to meet new friends in a hiking group.
Whether you need to lose weight or not, it is important to rev up your engine and get re-charged to enhance your physical health and spirit. One of the best ways to do it is to get outdoors, which can shift your energy and outlook so you feel better. Nature is a healer whether you are biking, hiking, or walking on a trail along the ocean, in the woods or even on a city street. And the real bonus is what it does for your physical and mental health.
I enjoy walking and jogging and use a free activity tracker on my phone. I set goals for myself and it drives me to get out every day. Since I started a year ago, I have firmed up, lost a few pounds and am stronger. I live in San Francisco so climbing our many hills is great for my legs and butt. One of the best things is that there is so much that you can discover and explore while on foot that you probably don’t even see when driving.
If you prefer to stay indoors, you can go to the gym and if you want to stay home there are many options including online live and recorded classes and/or home equipment. I actually have a client that does his work while using a desk treadmill. The pace is slower so he can focus, not get out of breath and get things done. We actually do virtual meetings while he is on his treadmill.
If I haven’t convinced you yet here are more benefits of exercise and getting outdoors:
- Improves blood pressure and heart rate – Lower blood pressure and increased heart health will lower the risk for heart attack or stroke and doing this naturally is better than with medicines.
- Makes you feel happier – More fresh air and exercise equals more oxygen that you will breathe. This, in turn, will increase the amount of serotonin (the happy hormone) produced, consequently boosting your mood and well-being.
- Strengthens your immune system – An increase in fresh air and exercise leads to an increase in natural killer cells, neutrophils and monocytes, which helps our white blood cells function properly by killing bacteria and germs thus enhancing our immune
- Cleans your lungs – Your lungs dilate more from having an increase of oxygen so fresh air and exercise improves the cleansing of your lungs. You release airborne toxins from your body when exhaling through your lungs.
- Gives you more energy and a sharper mind – You may notice that after spending time outside, you feel brighter and more motivated to get back to work. More oxygen results in greater brain functioning, improving your concentration skills and providing you with additional energy. Getting outside in the middle of a day will help to reduce the typical afternoon slump after lunch.
- Being outside will also help you produce vitamin D from the sun (when it does come out), which is essential for many bodily functions including supporting our immune system, strengthening our bones, teeth and much more.
- Walking, hiking or running on terrain that is constantly changing like on a trail teaches the body how to adapt to a changing environment. And we sure need that today both physically and mentally.
- Feel more energetic throughout the day, have sharper mental function, and be more relaxed and positive. Research indicates that even modest amounts of exercise and being outdoors can make a difference. It is not all or nothing. If an hour is too much, try it for 15 minutes.
- Attain higher self-esteem. Regular activity is an investment in your mind, body, and soul. When it becomes habit, it can foster your sense of self-worth and make you feel strong and more confident. This is great and pays off both professionally and personally. And by meeting even small exercise goals, you’ll feel a sense of achievement.
- Better sleep. Even short bursts of exercise in the morning or afternoon can help regulate your sleep patterns. If you prefer to exercise at night, relaxing practices such as yoga or gentle stretching can promote sleep.
- Relieves tension and stress and enhances well-being through the release of endorphins. Who doesn’t want this especially all the upheaval and change in our lives right now.
As you walk or jog, try to notice the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, the rhythm of your breathing, or the feeling of the wind on your skin. By adding mindfulness and really focusing on your body and how it feels as you exercise you’ll not only improve your physical condition faster, but you may also be able to interrupt the flow of constant worries running through your head.
For most, the benefits outweigh the cons and it’s ok to start small. In fact, it’s smart and this is how I ask my clients to start. I always say 30 minutes is better than 15 minutes and 15 minutes is better than no minutes. If you start small or miss a day, just go with the flow and pick up where you left off.
As you move and start to feel a little better, you’ll experience a greater sense of control over your well-being and it will translate to other aspects of your life.
Do your best to strive on feeling good and making progress. Since the body and mind are so closely linked, when your body feels better so, too, will your mind and you will perform at a higher level and accomplish more.